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Case Study: an Innovative X-ray System to Inspect SMT

In this blog post, you’ll read:As we are aware, the electronics sector is an exciting place. The size of the electronic components is becoming smaller all the time. And this size reduction enables the manufacturers to manufacture more compact and powerful electronic products.

Table of Contents

As we are aware, the electronics sector is an exciting place. The size of the electronic components is becoming smaller all the time. And this size reduction enables the manufacturers to manufacture more compact and powerful electronic products. At the same time, this compactness involves more complexity. Hence, involving quality measures in SMT manufacture becomes more significant than ever.

That’s how the SMT manufacturers are looking out for a robust inspection machine that helps in examining the condition of the SMT quickly and efficiently.

Here is one such case study where our Uni X-ray’s X-ray system helped the client by efficiently improving his manufacture of SMTs with 100% real-time inspection.


Case study:

The Client

Foxconn is one of the top manufacturers of SMT (Surface Mount Technology) by providing electronic engineering-based solutions to their various customers.


The Challenge

As the dimensions of components continue to shrink increasingly, high quality inspection becomes a necessity to ensure that every solder joint is intact. Visual inspection becomes very difficult since a greater number of leads remain hidden under the components. 

“We usually run low volume projects with high complexity. Although the batch size is around 20, our output per month is nearly 100 SMT tasks. Hence, we are in need of high efficiency. Although our staffs are skilled and experienced, they are only a few in number.”


How to fix this issue?

There is a need for a fundamental shift in the quality control measures, where it is possible to check and manage the performance of the SMT lines during the production, instead of fixing a day later to check the count of defective boards. Hence, automation can only achieve the productivity that we expect.

A 100% real time high-resolution X-ray inspection system proves to be the most effective and less expensive method to check the interior parts of the SMT and ensure its safety as well as reliability. This inspection can assure the manufacturing integrity of SMTs on the production line.

Hence, the client (Foxconn) was looking for a potential X-ray equipment manufacturer who can deliver a highly precise X-ray system for his production line. And this is where Uni X-ray was contacted since its X-ray system’s cost-to-performance ratio was comparatively better.


Why Uni X-ray?

Uni X-ray is well-known for delivering the best customized high-resolution X-ray system according to the client’s requirements at an affordable price. Hence, the client (Foxconn) tasked Uni X-ray company to install a complete in-line X-ray inspection system. Moreover, the expertise and customized technology of Uni X-ray are the key factors to the successful installation of the X-ray system.

X-ray System AX8400


The Solution

Uni X-ray company designed, developed, and manufactured the best high-performance X-ray system from scratch within two months for the client (Foxconn). This X-ray system included personalized software with utmost in-built flexibility to assess the solder joints at varying stages in the production line.

For more details about every type: refer https://unixray.com/x-ray-machines/electronics/ 

Overall features

  • High level intricate analysis with real-time high-resolution images
  • Easy to integrate with the factory setup
  • 100% complete inspection in real time
  • Part-wise inspection in two orientations at the sub-millimeter level
  • Fully automatic Pass/Reject


Overall benefits

  • Great customer satisfaction
  • Reduced time in discussion with customers as it is possible to show problems and the relevant solutions easily.
  • Assured manufacturing integrity of all solder joints
  • Quick and efficient inspection saves time and productivity
  • Complete inhibition of product recalls 

Furthermore, the evaluation ability of Uni X-ray can resolve issues including faulty design, faulty components, and faulty manufacturing.

x-ray inspection pictures


  • How Uni X-ray’s X-ray inspection system identifies faulty design?

On one occasion, a board design used the wrong footprints for few SMT parts however they were not totally inaccurate. In this case, the X-ray system pointed out that these pads allied just fit enough with the chip pins so that they can be used. This activity saved the cost of a board re-layout for the customer.

In a different scenario, another customer designed a Wi-fi module to mount on a mainboard. This Wi-fi module has a large LGA with a rare preparation of pads around its edge. Here, an X-ray inspection showed soldering issues with these pads. This problem occurred due to the varied coefficient of expansion between the mainboard and the module which led to the lift and cracking of several solder joints. This issue was solved by decreasing the panel size and increasing the thickness of the PCB.


  • How Uni X-ray’s X-ray inspection system identifies faulty components?

In one example, a customer returned some boards from a batch due to a functional fault. Every board held 96 QFNs. X-ray inspection showed soldering issues with several chips. This issue occurred due to the contamination of terminations. Due to the high-resolution visibility of the X-ray system, these faults were identified easily. So, this issue was solved by reworking the boards with new and better quality QFNs.

soldering issues


  • How Uni X-ray’s X-ray inspection system identifies faulty manufacturing?

Once a customer asked the client (Foxconn) to populate PCBs with SMT components but fitted the through-hole fragments themselves. This has caused few failures.

SMT defects X-ray system inspect


However, the client (Foxconn) was able to identify that fault instantly using an X-ray system where several holes were not completely filled with solder. For further batches, the client (Foxconn) was asked to perform complete soldering and provide its X-ray images for customer satisfaction. Furthermore, it is possible to find which pins on a connector have potential weaknesses using X-ray inspection. By doing so, operators can take adequate care during soldering. 


The Result

Now Uni X-ray’s machine is working 24/7 in the client (Foxconn)’s factory. The client can produce nearly 600,000 units per month and each one of them is screened using Uni X-ray’s machine. 

After the installation of the X-ray instrument, the client was able to get complete support from Uni X-ray as the client constantly refine the manufacturing process.

Finally, Uni X-ray’s instrument has continued to assure the complete reliability and safety of the SMT parts for the customers. You can find the inspection procedure in the below-mentioned Video:


Thus, the client (Foxconn) used an X-ray inspection system for production as an assurance and ad-hoc problem-solving tool. By providing X-ray images, the customers have additional confidence in the production batches.

For further information, contact info@unixray.com